An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) can have various causes. But it's usually caused by high blood pressure (hypertension) or coronary artery disease.
An enlarged heart may not pump blood effectively, resulting in congestive heart failure. Cardiomegaly may improve over time. But most people with an enlarged heart need lifelong treatment with medications.
When bacteria begin to grow on the mitral valve or inside the
heart, they form a colony, known as a vegetation, which may grow to be several
centimeters in size. When growing on the valve, they can block its opening,
causing stenosis, or more commonly they scar the valve, making it difficult for
the valve to close completely, causing regurgitation. Vegetations can also
cause a perforation, leading to acute mitral valve regurgitation, which
requires emergency treatment.
As a complication
If you have an
artificial valve, getting endocarditis could be very
dangerous for you. The artificial valve gives bacteria a place to move in,
attach, and grow. When bacteria settle in, they expand and clump together,
becoming a larger mass attached to your heart muscle or valve. As these clumps
of bacteria become larger, pieces are likely to break off. These pieces that
break off act much like a blood clot and can block your arteries, causing a
heart attack or
stroke. They can also spread the infection throughout
your body by traveling through your bloodstream.
If you develop an infection, endocarditis can be treated with
intravenous antibiotics. This will be in much larger doses than the oral
antibiotics you take to prevent infection, and it will be given for a much
longer period of time. A typical course of antibiotics to treat endocarditis is
daily for four to six weeks, compared to one dose before surgery and one dose
afterwards for preventive purposes.
For more information, see the topic Endocarditis.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
George Philippides, MD - Cardiology
February 12, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 12, 2010
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